Musings

So this may be short and sweet, but I had a thought I had to share. The last few days my devotions (because, remember, I’m doing that now…) have been based around 1 Corinthians 13. I admit, when I saw that was the passage I was supposed to read, I groaned. I’ve loathed that passage for a long time now. Well, maybe loathed is a bit strong. I’ve had strong negative feelings towards 1 Corinthians 13, particularly verses 4-7 for a while now. Without going into a long dramatic story, let’s just say that during a particularly dramatic break up in high school, this verse was used as a weapon against me time and time again. I’ll let you imagine how and why frankly because rehashing that whole story does nobody any good. But the point is, I’ve avoided 1 Corinthians 13 and rolled my eyes every time it has been used at a wedding or in a church service for years. I mean, YEARS (I won’t tell you how  many years it has been since I had my high school break up). So, naturally, when I saw that I was to read, ponder, and let this verse speak to me through my daily devotions not one, oh no, but two days in a row? I heaved a heavy sigh and opened my Bible to that page. And yes, as I read it, bad memories came flooding back, but they weren’t painful or infuriating anymore. They were a slightly annoying reminder of days when I hadn’t found my beloved stud (TP in case you were wondering folks), but it didn’t hurt me to read these verses anymore. Moreover, I found the rest of that chapter is actually mind-blowingly amazing. Go read it, right now. Go, I’ll wait…….

Read it? Ok, isn’t it awesome? That chapter hit me like a ton of bricks. Love. Love is it. Love is what it is all about. Without love, and I don’t mean high school “I am so smart and mature I know exactly what love is because I know everything about the entire world” love. I mean, the love of the Father, the love of our Savior. The love that we, as His servants, are called to show the entire world, no matter what. Verses 2-3 stand out to me in particular, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained NOTHING” (NLT, emphasis mine). Let that sink in. If I knew EVERYTHING, understood EVERYTHING, had the most strong amazing mountain moving faith, it would be NOTHING without loving others. If I gave up everything, even becoming a martyr for Jesus, and yet I didn’t show His love to everybody, everyday, all the time, then it is worthless. Wow. What a kick in the gut. I, for one, have always thought that I just needed to have more faith. I chided myself when I had doubts. I thought, “I just need to have faith. Wouldn’t it be amazing to actually be able to tell that mountain (figuratively or literally) to move and it would!?” But no, that’s not what it is about. It is about love. Loving God, yes of course. With everything I have and everything I am. But perhaps more important and infintely more difficult, loving people. Loving everybody, no matter their circumstances or what they’ve done. Loving them and seeing them as Christ sees them.

So congratulations Corinthians, you’ve made a real come back into my life and my heart. Shame on me for hardening my heart to His words for so long. But I’m so glad I’ve been camped out in this chapter for two days, because it has really challenged me to see that of all these things-faith, hope, and love- that the greatest is love.

Muse on that.

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New habits…take one.

So this may be short and it is certainly not an update on all the things that have been going on in our lives since I last wrote (I know, I know, May was a long time ago..whatever). This is to share two new things, let’s go so far as to call them habits, that I have started recently. One involves something I never thought I would be doing, and one involves something I’m ashamed that I haven’t done until now.

First of all, I have really been struggling over the last few months with getting in better shape. Since I had LM, I’ve been trying to get back to the body I had in my early marriage days and let me tell you, it has not been easy. Chances for exercise are few and far between unless I want to get up super early (no thanks friend) or run in the dark after I get LM down to bed (again, late, tired, and cranky me says no dice). Add that to the fact that I’ve always despised running any sort of distance other than the 100 M dash I rocked in junior high. There wasn’t room in the budget for an expensive gym membership where I could do other things besides run (and ya know, again, the time) and I’m not a fan of workout videos (As a child of the early 90s there were just too many covers with Suzanne Sommers in Spandex and it scarred me for life). I got into Zumba for a while at a local dance studio, but it was becoming an expensive habit and their fall schedule just didn’t jive with our family’s schedule. So we finally joined the SRSC at IU (Student recreation and….something Center). They have classes and equipment and a pool so it seemed perfect for our family. I can take Zumba and work out on the elliptical machine (way easier on my knees and such than running) and TP could swim and it would all be dandy. But again we are running into the problem (no pun intended) of having the time to drive across town to a workout facility and then go to work or go home and make dinner or whatever. Also add into the mix that TP, myself, and some friends ran in a 5K for the Crisis Pregnancy Center last weekend and it was kinda, dare I say it, fun. So I am trying to start running more. There are a lot of things preventing me from really, fully, with my whole being committing to it yet (TP has totally jumped in both feet and loves it). But I am trying to make the committment to run at least twice a week and work out at the SRSC at least once. A full flown habit? Not yet, but maybe soon. Lord help me, I can’t believe I said that.

The other thing is serious. I mean, serious. It is about..gulp, the Bible. As a lifelong lover of Jesus, I’ve read my Bible. Well, some of it. The parts that everybody agrees are important…the story of Jesus and his instructions for us on how to live. The story of the creation of the world and the classic Bible stories that children know and love. In fact, one of my favorite characters in all of history (other than Jesus…duh) is found in the Bible…any guesses? It is Esther. I think she’s awesome. Anyway, even though I’ve grown up my whole life knowing these stories and knowing that reading my Bible is important, as an adult I’ve never really been disciplined about reading it daily (or sometimes even weekly..or eek…biweekly). It was more haphazard and when I did read it, I returned to the tried and true passages that made me feel warm and fuzzy. I know, I know, not what you want to hear the pastor’s wife say about her Bible reading life. But recently, through reading a blog post of someone I follow with enthusiam (read the post here: http://www.putapuredukes.com/2013/08/reworded.html) I realized that I’m not alone in this and that I can turn this around if I really have the desire and perhaps the right tools. So following this blogger’s advice, I got a new Bible (this one to be exact: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/141433866X/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and a new Bible study guide (to be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1576838919/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). I’ve been getting up earlier in the mornings as so to have time to shower and do my reading before LM wakes up. And so far, I have to say…I’m really enjoying it. Hatmaker is really funny and personable and I’ve decided to start by reading through the book of James. Not one I’ve read before, but I think a good place to start. So here’s hoping that this will really become a habit, one that I can’t live without, and that diving deeper and with purpose and discipline into God’s Word will be fruitful and challenging and will teach me to be an even closer follower of Jesus.

So there are my new habits…well habits-in-the-making. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Let’s play ball, people.

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What We’ve Been Up To

Wow, sorry for the loooong blogging break (yes, talking to you mom!) Things have been trucking along quite nicely inside the PH. For both brevity’s sake and because I just want to (hey, I’m writing, so I do what I want, yo) I am going to put my news update in a nice list. I have some special things on my mom-heart that I will share with you all soon (Mother’s Day is this weekend, so I feel it is only appropriate), but for now, I will satisfy the masses, or at least the grandmothers, with a clean list of updates. So, what have we been up to these days? In no particular order:
• TP graduated from ONU with his master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. We spent a WONDERFUL weekend in Illinois with our fabulous friends, ate wonderful food, played with lots of adorable kiddos, slept very little, and visited some of our old haunts. Well, I don’t know if you can call them old haunts since we lived there just a year ago. But man, does it feel like a lifetime ago…we saw these places we visited/ate/played/worked only 12 months ago and felt like we hadn’t seen them in years. Our life has changed so much in the past year and we’ve grown (in LM’s case quite literally) so much in these months back in Indiana, it seems sometimes that our Illinois life was, well, a lifetime ago. But in summary, we had a wonderful time and we are all SO VERY PROUD of TP for this accomplishment. He and I both say that we are going to take some time off from school, but let’s be honest, anybody that knows us suspects that our resolve on that front will crumble sooner rather than later. In fact, we’ve both already been scoping out programs here at IU (more to come on that later).
• LM is shooting up like a weed. He LOVES being outside (seriously, the kid would eat, sleep, poop…everything outside if he could). He is soaking up lots of sun, when we have it, and cries like a banshee when we have to bring him inside. This kid is ALL BOY, my friends. He is a climbing machine with bruises on his arms, legs, and yes, his butt from his climbing escapades. He eats dirt anytime we turn our backs for a second, loves playing in the garage with Daddy’s tools (and curiously enough, the shop broom…I’m so proud!). At his 15 month checkup, we’ve concluded that while he still has an off the charts big noggin, he is growing up and slimming down. Who knew that our little Buddha baby would be getting so long and lean? He’s starting to say a few recognizable words (Ball, Daddy, car, cow, etc.) but mostly he just babbles in his own baby language. Sometimes, in fact, he gives us quite the earful. We should probably be thankful in those times that we can’t understand what he’s saying.
• We are starting some new things at our church. We’ve been doing Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey for about a month now and it is going very well. We’ve made some new friends from the community through this program and we are really taking control of our finances. If you’ve never done it, I highly encourage you to find a local class and get plugged in. Our young adult Sunday School class is also changing a bit to be a more “small group” like. We’ve ordered some new material that I am SUPER PUMPED to start. I know God is going to work great things through this group of people; I can’t wait to see where it goes.
• We are trying to be healthier in our house these days. TP has taken up running and I’m getting back into Zumba. The plan is for all of us, yes all of us, to do a 5K in September to benefit our local Crisis Pregnancy Center. So we are getting our butts (and legs) in gear training for that. It is kind of amazing how exercise helps your mood, not to mention your body. TP has really committed fully to this working out thing…I am still just sticking my toes in the water. Mostly I hate working out, that’s why I love Zumba so much. So you should all pester me about doing it, that way I feel bad and don’t let TP get more in shape than me!

Alright, I’m about out of time to write this and I think those are the main points of interest in our lives these days. Hopefully the fam is contented with those updates, but just in case they need more to soothe their souls, here are some adorable pictures of LM (as taken, once again, by his fabulous babysitter Mihaela!)

Checking out some grass

Checking out some grass

LM loves trees! Or is slightly afraid of them.

LM loves trees! Or is slightly afraid of them.

My big little man!

My big little man!

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LM Turns One!

I can hardly believe it myself, but it happened. Over the weekend, my litle man, my squishy little spitfire of a boy, turned one year old. It seems impossible that it has been an entire year since we went to the hospital earrrrrly that snowy morning knowing that we would leave in a few days with our son. We’ve had a crazy year, but it has been an incredible experience and we don’t know how we ever survived with just the two of us. As was absolutely necessary to commemorate this occasion, we had a big party with lots of our family and friends. LM was his usual charming self, even with having arrived at the end of a nap (it took him a little bit to warm up to everybody…I’m grumpy when I first wake up too dude, no worries).

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Since this was probably the only year that I will have sole input and control over the theme and whatnot of the party, I decided to piggy-back on the theme of his nursery and do owls. We love owls at our house, and not-so-coincidentally owls were the theme of my babyshower thrown by two of my most fabulous friends in Bourbonnais over a year ago (wow, still seems crazy). So it was only appropriate that the owls resurface to celebrate the anniversary of LM’s entrance. His cake and decor were all owl-themed, and seemed to be a hit with people.

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He also had a super-fly birthday crown made by the very same fabulous friend who threw the owl baby shower last year. Note to readers: LM does NOT like ANYTHING on his head. This includes a hat when it is 6 degrees outside, a comb after bathtime, my hand ruffling his hair, or (as it turns out) his birthday crown. I don’t really know what I was thinking assuming he would cooperate. Oh well, it has detachable numbers, so maybe next year!

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We were not sure how LM would take to this cupcake. Especially since the bakery people gave us an equal share of cupcake and icing. He was hesitant at first.

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But after a while, he really started warming up to it.

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Eventually he really dug in.

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And finally, we had nothing but an adorable, sticky, smurf baby on our hands. All was well and he had a great time demolishing his cake.

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It was a wonderful day celebrating our precious LM with family and friends who all love him (almost) as much as we do! I know the coming years will just keep passing by faster and faster, and I am just trying to keep up and soak it all in right now. Happy Birthday LM, you are officially the best!

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Happy New Year = new post!

Yea, yea, I know it has been too long since I updated (thanks for the reminder Mom!). What can I say, things have been crazy around the PH. So 2 and a half months later, I am giving you another look into our lives. It seemed that categories worked well for me previously, so I will try that again.

Work: Things are still fantastic here at the office! My boss and I have really developed a stride and he seems very pleased with my work. In fact, while he originally intended on waiting until I’d been here 6 months to do a performance review and move me to a full time with benefits position, he was confident enough in my future performance that after just 3 months he has pushed forward that promotion. Yay! That means that hopefully in the very near future we won’t be paying out the wazoo for Cobra insurance anymore, but instead paying the absurdly reasonable price that coverage through IU offers. Hooray for our wallets and our doctors!

Church:  Church is also going well. We had a wonderful Advent season and now are beginning a new series that TP has prepared. He is super excited about it and so far it is going splendidly. We are going to be introducing/trying some new things with our congregation soon and we are both really looking forward to the outcome. We’ve made some good connections with mentors on our zone and district. The congregation in our church has been incredibly supportive and they seem receptive to TP introducing some new things. Please continue to pray for us and our church.

LM: Wow, where to even start with him! Very shortly after my last update he took the plunge and starting walking! In fact, he decided it would be fun to wait until Mommy was in Utah at a conference to walk for Daddy and Grandma. Thank the Lord for video phones so TP could send me a video of LM taking his first steps. The day was November 14 (the very same day that I left, thanks LM!) and LM was just 6 days shy of being 10 months old! He is since mastered walking, climbing, and running (almost). No joke, the kid will find a way to climb anything and everything. Sometimes that means creating steps from strange things (his diaper bag, stacks of pillows, a large toy, or his mommy), but once he decides he’s climbing onto something, watch out, he will find a way. As such, he has more than a few times made contact between his head and a piece of furniture or the floor. I promise we don’t ignore our child but his number of bumps, bruises, and scratches has increased dramatically over the last two months.

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Other milestones of note, he now has 6 teeth and is cutting his one year molars. He is not at all a fan of snow but does love to splash in water (bathtub, kitchen sink while I do dishes, puddles, etc.) LM is getting over his second ear infection. We had a bit of a scare a couple of weeks ago when we thought he might have had the flu, but it turns out it was just an ear infection. While it was still a miserable several days, we will take an ear infection over the flu. And hey, only two ear infections in his first year is not a bad record! He is sleeping pretty well, but we still haven’t mastered the sleeping all night thing. He is consistently waking up at least once, but on average two or three times a night, and nearly every night he wakes up at 4am. I am hoping that soon we can conquer these wake ups and start sleeping through the night. Any suggestions on that would be appreciated. LM had a great first Christmas, although he was more interested in tearing the paper and eating it than in any of his presents. He was, of course, deliciously spoiled by his grandparents and other family and friends. It was definitely a learning experience for us, teaching him not to play with the tree or my decorations. I think next year will be super fun since he will really be able to get into it.
He is starting to talk a little more, but no majorly recognizable words yet. His personality is really starting to show through and he makes us laugh all the time! All in all, LM is happy (most of the time), healthy (most of the time), and a huge blessing to us, even if he does totally wear us out.

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That’s about all for now. I think that covers most of the major parts of our lives. I will try to maintain this on a more regular basis (no promises Mom!). In closing, please enjoy some pictures of LM. We are terrible parents who only took 5 pictures the entire month of December and none on Christmas. Thankfully, my dad took a lot of pictures on Christmas day, so hopefully I can get my hands on some of those. New Year’s Resolution: take more pictures of LM (never thought I’d need to say that).

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The Force is Strong with Us

So, here it is, the update I promised everyone. I will try to hit the highlights of what is going on inside the PH.

Job: In short, the new job is going fabulously! I love the people I work with, my boss is great, and while my office is an igloo it is nothing wearing a fleece jacket and gloves can’t fix. All in all, marvelous.

Church: Things are going well. TP has really hit a stride with his preaching and I think people are responding well. We have started our two new outreach programs at the Crisis Pregnancy Center and Backstreet Missions (a center for men without homes). We’ve had decent participation and so far all the volunteer sessions have gone really well. But there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of room for growth.  Keep us and the church in your prayers.

LM: Ok, this is what everybody really wants to know about. LM is a-mazing. He is so advanced, ya’ll. Maybe I’m biased, but seriously. He had his 9 month checkup on Monday. Here’s the stats: 21 lbs 15 ounces, 29.5 inches long. He’s in the 75% for weight, 90% for height, and…wait for it…97% for head size. Kid got a big head, yo. He gets it from his dad. Seriously, when TP was born, the first words from the doc were “Measure that baby’s head!” So LM gets it honest. But he doesn’t look disproportionate or anything and we are confident the rest of him will catch up to his head eventually. He has 3 (almost 4) teeth, eats solid food like a champ, and is crawling like a madman. For realz, he is so fast, we can’t take our eyes off him for a second. He is already exhibiting sa-weet problem solving skills. Just the other day, he was trying to reach something at the back of the table (I had moved it back so he couldn’t get it). He went over and grabbed his diaper bucket, dumped it out, turned it over, climbed on top of it, and got ahold of the coasters. I was so impressed and suprised that I wasn’t even upset. Another example, we were all downstairs recently and TP went upstairs to get something. LM, being the doting son he is, decided he wanted to follow father, crawled over to the stairs, looked at them for a minute (pondering this mystery…we had previously kept him far away from all things stairs) and proceeded to start climbing the stairs. He shimmied up those stairs like a….um….I can’t think of a good simile for that, but he was really good at it!

So not only is he eating, crawling, climbing, and sort of talking (he gets ma ma, da da, na na, and nein…he knows German!), but most impressively to us is how close he is to walking! He pulls himself up on the furntire (or the wall, or our legs, or a toy, etc. you get the idea) and cruises right along like it is nothing. He can stand up on his own for several seconds and insists on us holding his hands and walking him around nearly 24/7. I am so convinced that he is going to be walking by Thanksgiving, I bet my serving of mashed taters on it. Wait, that’s too risky, you don’t mess around with mashed taters. But no joke, I fully believe he will be tottering around on his own any day. Dude…he’s 9 months old and nearly walking! I’m sure that’s not all that uncommon, but in my mind, he is a crazy amazing genius baby. Just let me have this one, ok?

All in all, LM is doing simply and completely wonderful. He had his first visit to the pumpkin patch a couple weeks ago and was amazed by the animals and the giant pumpkins and the corn and the general outdoorsyness of it all. He also experienced his first Halloween tonight. He was, naturally, Yoda. We went around to visit our neighbors, not to get any candy (we have sooooo much candy leftover folks, come over and eat it so TP and I don’t get fat) but to generally show off our adorbs LM was in his costume. He was a champ and smiled through the whole ordeal, even though it was cold and he had giant Yoda ears on that were slightly too small and a fleece Jedi robe that was slightly too big. A few of our neighbors said, “Oh he’s so cute as a little lamb…” WHAT???? SERIOUSLY???? We just laughed and said, “Actually, he’s Yoda.” What we wanted to say was, “Are you crazy? Can’t you see the green ears and the Jedi robe and the overall YODANESS of his entire outfit? George Lucas judges you!” But we didn’t. Some of them actually got it and fawned over what an adorable Jedi master he made. Don’t worry, we know.

So that’s basically the jist of what’s going on in our lives. Things are, for the largest part, going very well with us. We have very few complaints and the ones we do have are probably silly in the grand scheme of things. Most of our time is taken up playing with LM as much as we possibly can, sneaking in kisses and snuggles, and working like we need the money. Wait, we do. Oh well, anyway, we are totally and completely blessed. If you need further proof, see below.

Baby loves to swing!

He was rather taken aback by the leaves

Loving the giant pumpkins

The Force is strong in this family

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New Adventures..and a Long Story

Ok everyone, I promised an update about my job situation. As you will recall, I recently posted about not feeling appreciated or fulfilled in my first job at IU. It turns that both my boss and I had very different expectations regarding what my job would be. I won’t get into the whole mess of it, but they decided and I agreed that the office was not the right place for me. I was still eligible for re-hire at IU but we all decided that Optometry was not the place for me. So there I was, again, unemployed. I kept thinking back to the tedious process that finding a job was when we moved here. It took nearly 7 weeks, and we did not really want to go back to that place. But there we were. I had already started applying to other jobs and I just amped that process into overtime. LM stopped going to his babysitter and stayed home with me (which was nice for me, but his fabulous friend missed him something fierce, as he did her). I was able to get some projects done around the house, visit with my in-laws who were in town, and enjoy spending time at home with TP and LM. I was enjoying it, don’t get me wrong, after the draining experience the job had been, but it was ever present in mind “hey, you need a job! you need insurance!” I knew that we could not get away with being a one income house without insurance, so I would have to work. I looked for both full time and part time jobs that offered benefits. I applied for a bunch of other jobs at IU. A lady in our church (who also works for IU and has for a long time) assured me that my experience was unique and not indicative of IU as a whole. I hoped she was right.

One particular job I applied for seemed interesting and a perfect fit. It was an executive assistant position for the associate director of the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies at IU. Whew, what a title! But the job description seemed very much like what I did at Olivet, so I went for it. I applied for the job the Monday after I left Optometry. I got a call on Tuesday to come in for an interview on Wednesday. The interview went well, I LOVED the girls I interviewed with and as they described more about the job and about the man I’d be working for if I was hired, it just seemed like the perfect fit. He was similar to Dr. Reddick in a lot of ways (super super smart, slightly unorganized, etc.) He needed someone to help keep his life organized, which is ya know, my speciality. I left the interview feeling good. I got a call on Thursday to come back on Monday for a second interview with a panel of administrative people. Monday’s interview came and went very smoothly, and I came back on Tuesday to meet with the director of the center (not my boss, he was in Europe…I offered to have them fly me over there to meet him, they didn’t go for it…boo.). The director is super nice and we chatted for a good long while. I sat on pins and needles for the rest of the week as I awaited the call. They called on Friday to say that they wanted me to join the team! So exactly 2 weeks after I left a job that I really didn’t care for, I was offered a job with better hours, better pay, with great people, and a place where I really felt like I would be used to the fullest. Can we say miracle?

So there is the story of my two week vacation from work. It was a wonderful time of getting projects done around the house (more on that later), spending time with my baby and my hubby (more LM updates coming soon, fear not), and learning everyday how to trust God more and more to provide for us. I should never  have doubted Him. He has led me to a job that is a better fit for me all the way around. It is only my third day and I already feel like I am a part of this team…making a difference. I have yet to meet my boss face to face (he travels a LOT), but we’ve emailed and he seems hopeful and encouraged that this will work out well. So if you ask me what I do, I will give you the short version (I am the executive assistant to the associate director at CREST). If you want to know more about the center I work for, just ask. I am more than happy to brag about what they do here (even if I don’t understand most of it). I give God all the glory for working this situation out in such a positive way. He knew exactly what I needed and delivered on it big time.

May you learn more and more everyday to lean on God for your needs. He WILL provide, trust me!

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